Sometimes, things just don’t work out. You might have hired a writer to produce blog posts for your company’s website and that writer was never able to turn things in on time or consistently handed in posts that were off-topic or not useful to you. Perhaps you hired a team of content writers and are now facing budget cuts, meaning you can only keep working with one or two. Although reality TV might make it look otherwise, few people actually enjoy the process of firing someone or cutting someone loose. While firing someone can be painful no matter what you do, there are a few ways you can make things a little easier on yourself and on your writer.
Give Her a Chance
Everyone has a rough patch now and then. If a writer misses a single deadline, that’s not necessarily a reason to let him or her go. One may have missed it because of illness or a family issue. But, if missing deadlines is an everyday occurrence with your writer, it’s a good idea to bring it up with him or her. Your writer might take your silence on the subject to mean that you don’t mind about the deadlines. If getting assignments late is really messing with your process, let your writer know. If he or she fixes the issue, you don’t have to find a new writer. If your writer doesn’t, he or she can’t say that you didn’t give a warning.
What’s worse than getting fired? Getting a terse email saying you’ve been fired. If you’ve been working with a writer for any length of time, that is, for longer than a one-off project, it’s polite to add the personal touch when you let her know you’ll no longer need her services. An email message can be acceptable, as long as you’re friendly and to the point.
Although it’s more awkward, a phone call can often be the best way to break up with your writer. When you let someone go over the phone, you give her the chance to respond or ask questions. Although a writer is still likely to be upset when you part ways over the phone, she might not feel as blindsided or ignored, which is more likely to happen if you email instead of call.
Let Your Writer Know Why
When you let someone go, it can be helpful to let her know why. It could be an “it’s not you, it’s me” type of situation. You might enjoy working with your writer and appreciate the work she does, but you just don’t have the budget for content at the moment. If that’s the case, let her know, as doing so will leave the door open for a relationship in the future. You never know, your budget might improve and you might be able to afford a freelance writer again one day.
If the situation is more “it’s you, it is very much you,” you can let the writer know that, as well. But, remember to be diplomatic. Don’t say “I can’t stand your writing.” Instead say, “I’m working for a writer with a different style.” If the writer hands in copy that’s riddled with errors on a regular basis and it takes you hours to edit and proof it, you can point that out, too. Even though your relationship hasn’t worked out, knowing why can help a writer build better working relationships and a better work ethic in the future.
There are plenty of fish in the writer sea and it’s important to find someone you work well with. There might be a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding the right writer, but remember, it’s not worth the stress to work with someone you don’t click with.
Amy F. is a freelance writer in Philadelphia. Her favorite side projects include writing a blog about shopping and sewing and writing short pieces of speculative fiction. She is always looking for ways to grow as a writer.